Where relationships are at the heart of the school and
the school is at the heart of the community

School Life

Tutor Time

The Swanage School operates a vertical tutor group system in line with ‘human scale education’ principles. Vertical tutor groups are made up of all year groups which enable relationships to be forged across the school rather than just in year groups creating a real sense of school community. Tutor groups register every morning and every afternoon together.

Morning registration is 10 minutes long and allows students to welcome and be welcomed as well as having time to prepare for the day.

Afternoon tutor time is 30 minutes long. This time is used for whole-school assemblies, house assemblies, inter-house competitions, time for reflection, peer mentoring and so on.

House System

There are four houses in The Swanage School, each led by a head of house. The House system provides students with an opportunity to become involved in a wide range of activities including fundraising for charities, inter-House debates and sporting competition.

Students are allocated to one of the four Houses when they start at The Swanage School and remain in their Houses for the duration of their time at school.

All students are encouraged to play an active part in their Houses. Students are given the opportunity to develop leadership and teamwork skills in a variety of ways, from leading sports teams to arranging and managing major inter-House events.

We actively encourage students to use their own initiative in devising new activities and challenges to maintain the Houses as a flourishing part of school life.

Home-School Contract

Parents/carers are asked to sign and return the copy of our Home-School Contract.

By signing parents/carers agree that:

  • They understand that the full school day runs from 8.30am until 3.20pm, and you give permission for your child to remain at school later for the purpose of attending after-school extra-curricular activities
  • They confirm that you give permission for your child to leave the school grounds under the care of the school to undertake non-hazardous activities to support his/her learning. This might include a short journey by minibus
  • They confirm that you give consent for the school and its representatives to photograph or record your child and use such media in school literature, including the school website
  • They understand the school will not authorise holiday leave for students during their Key Stage 4 phase of education (Year 10/11)

And that as a parent/carer they will:

  • See that their child attends school regularly, on time, correctly dressed and properly equipped
  • Make the school aware of any medical conditions, concerns or problems that might affect their child’s behaviour or ability to learn effectively
  • Support the school’s policies and guidelines for behaviour and encourage their child to do the same
  • Attend parents’ evenings and discussions about their child’s progress
  • Get to know about the life of the school and the range of learning experiences that are offered to their child
  • Support their child in the learning they are expected to do at home, including ensuring that it is completed on time 
  • Support their child in other opportunities for learning outside of school

In return, The Swanage School promises to:

  • Promote high standards of work and behaviour, and provide clear guidelines for parents, carers and students
  • Encourage all aspects of each child’s development: intellectual, physical, creative, emotional, moral and spiritual
  • Provide experiences during and beyond the school day that will challenge and excite each child as they prepare for adult life in an ever‑changing world
  • Enable academic success to be balanced by opportunities to shine in sports, the arts, community service and other areas reflecting each child’s skills and interests
  • Help to ensure that the decisions each child makes about his/her future will be well judged and will make the most of their skills and interests
  • Keep parents/carers well informed about school matters in general and their child’s progress in particular
  • Help parents/carers to help their child make the most of his/her time at the school 
  • Keep each child safe and promote his/her wellbeing
  • Be open and welcoming and offer opportunities for parents/carers to become involved in the life of the school 
 

Learning Logs

The Learning Log is a personal reflection of learning and is incorporated into the Planner (see Planner section). Students are encouraged to reflect on their learning throughout the course of each day.

Recording progress in the Learning Log is an integral part of the learning experience. For example, the Learning Log will typically be open on a student’s desk during the lesson in order to capture the learning milestones – if the lightbulb goes on and a concept is understood, or alternatively if a concept is still out of reach, the student can record their thoughts and ‘traffic light’ their understanding using a red/yellow/green highlighter pen.

Students will be encouraged to review their learning by looking over the red and yellow traffic lights and checking if their misunderstanding has been addressed. If there are still misconceptions, students will take action to address these.

The learning log should form the basis of Learning Conversations with peers, teachers and parents (see the assessment page).


Planners

Every student will receive a school planner, which has a number of purposes:

  • To record learning objectives through the school day
  • To organise and record homework, including deadlines and ticks on completion
  • To evaluate the learning that has taken place in their Learning Log

The planner is an integral part of the learning process. Students record their learning objectives, and evaluate the extent to which these are achieved. Students use their planner retrospectively to ensure that gaps in learning are filled.

Parents and teachers will monitor the planner and engage in regular learning conversations with the students to ensure the learning journey is on track.